Preferred Citation: Kataoka, Tetsuya. Resistance and Revolution in China: The Communists and the Second United Front. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  [1974] 1974.

III— From the Lukouchiao Incident to the Sixth Plenum

From the Lukouchiao Incident to the Sixth Plenum

On the night of July 7, 1937, two companies of Japanese infantry troops—part of the force that was stationed in north China in accordance with the Boxer Protocol—were engaged in a routine maneuver along the bank of the Yungting River in the western suburb of Peiping. At 10:40 P.M. and again later, they were fired upon from some unknown source. A defensive reaction invited reaction. Less than a month later, China and Japan were at war. Focusing attention exclusively on the Chinese Communists and looking at events from their standpoint, one might be led to believe that they alone retained the initiative, while the other parties were pushed along by events to move on a trajectory which insured the CCP's success. But this was definitely not the case. The initiative continued to rest for a long time in the Kuomintang government and Tokyo. The margin of maneuverability for the CCP was very small. The united front remained fragile after the commencement of hostilities because the continuation of the war itself was far from certain. For the CCP to adopt a double-edged policy of carrying on "anti-feudal" struggle within the united front was risky. The dispute as to how much revolution was compatible with the resistance continued in the Party as long as there was the possibility of peace between China and Japan. In this chapter I will trace the outline of that dispute and its provisional settlement at the Sixth Plenum.

Marxist theory imputes the quality of necessity to revolutions in modern times. The Chinese Communists make no exception of their case. If this judgment had a semblance of validity, it is pertinent to ask, To what aspect of the revolution could this quality be plausibly


ascribed? In 1936 and 1937 it would have taken a wholly sanguine temperament to prophesy that peasant revolution would inevitably triumph. What did seem unavoidable was a collision between China and Japan. The judgment that it was inevitable seemed well nigh unassailable from the time of the Far Eastern Military Tribunal. It assumes that the Nanking government had pursued consistently a policy of appeasement toward Japan between the Mukden Incident and the "China Incident." Thus, the cause of the war is sought in factors internal to Japan, namely, its alleged policy of deliberate and unremitting expansion into north China. Recent research shows, however, that the latter assumption is questionable.[1] I cannot of course hope to settle the question of what caused the war, nor to exonerate Japan's part in it. Still, to bring to light Mao's strategy of "forcing Chiang to resist Japan" is necessarily to reopen the possibility that the war resulted from an interaction of several complex factors—including those internal to China itself. It also implies that the war—on which peasant revolution so utterly depended—was a contingent event rather than a foregone conclusion.

Japan's major interest on the continent was to husband Manchuria. It could not and would not relinquish Manchuria, from which it had expelled Chinese and Russian powers at the cost of two wars. It was willing to incur the resentment of the Anglo-American powers and to withdraw from the League of Nations, if necessary, to keep its hegemony there. In the 1930s the major threat to Manchuria was posed by the Soviet forces. North China was the rear of Japan's defense against this threat. As the Kuomintang's national unification proceeded, the Kuantung Army became preoccupied with the question of how to neutralize China in the event of a conflict with Russia. Incursions into north China started when the Kuantung Army found it difficult to control the anti-Japanese guerrillas—as yet only remotely connected with the CCP—operating in the stretch of areas from Jehol to Liaotung Peninsula. The Kuantung Army saw that Nanking's refusal to recognize Manchukuo's independence was ultimately responsible for local instability. A desire to deprive the guerrillas of the sanctuary in Jehol and beyond the Great Wall to the south led to the creation of a demilitarized zone in 1933 (the T'angku Agreement).

With eating came appetite, defined vaguely in pan-Asian terms, and by 1935 the Japanese government openly pursued the policy of excluding the Kuomintang government from north China by fostering "au-

[1] James B. Crowley, Japan's Quest for Autonomy: National Security and Foreign Policy, 1930–1938 (Princeton, N. J.: Princeton University Press, 1966).



Map 1
The Frozen Battleline: The China Expeditionary Forces in late 1939



Map 2
Co-habitation of the Communists and the Japanese: An overview of the
Communist bases during the war


tonomy" based on collaboration of warlord regimes. In June two local agreements between the Japanese Army and the Chinese authority forced the Kuomintang's influence out of Hopei and Chahar Provinces.[2] Still, Nanking leaned over backward to avoid direct confrontation, and in September, Chiang Kai-shek proposed de facto recognition of Manchukuo in exchange for Japan's support of the Kuomintang in north China.[3] But Japan persisted in its anachronistic scheme, and some time in the summer and fall of 1936 its policy seems to have pushed Nanking over the brink.

Having invited a situation quite adverse to its basic interest, Japan belatedly decided to reverse itself. In April, 1937, the Hayashi cabinet abandoned the policy of detaching north China.[4] Yin Ju-keng's Eastern Hopei Autonomous Government was to be liquidated.[5] I have already shown how the Communist leaders concerned themselves with this retreat.

Thus the outbreak of the war cannot be explained solely in terms of Japanese actions. Who fired the mysterious shots at Lukouchiao will perhaps never be known. I can think of at least two groups which might have been involved in the provocation, the Chinese Communists and the disgruntled Chinese puppet officials. But the question of "outside agitators" is irrelevant to urban nationalism. Much more important was the question of whether the Nanking government was in control of militant public opinion or was controlled by it. On July 11 a local truce was established between the Tientsin Garrison Army and Sung Che-yüan's forces. " . . . but the public pronouncements of the generalissimo, as well as his veto of the local settlement," states James Crowley, "eventually yielded a major crisis which vindicated his prognosis of subsequent Japanese demands."[6] By July 27, the Konoe cabinet was demanding a "fundamental solution of the Sino–Japanese relations" involving de facto recognition of Manchukuo, an anti-Comintern pact, and the creation of a demilitarized zone in the Peiping–Tientsin area.[7] Yet only three divisions were dispatched to north China with the intention of confining the hostility to this area. The Operations Division of the Army General Staff in Tokyo was simply unwilling to be drawn away from Soviet threat.[8] Thus, when the Chinese government advanced more than 50,000 troops to Shanghai against 4,000 Japanese marines there on August 13, Tokyo was caught off guard.

[2] See above, note 105, chap. II.

[3] Crowley, p. 227.

[4] Imperial Army General Staff , No. 1, pp. 422–423.

[5] Hata Ikuhiko, p. 135.

[6] Crowley, p. 340.

[7] Ibid. , pp. 340–347.

[8] See the role of Colonel Ishiwara Kanji, the head of the Operations Division, in the debate in Tokyo, in Imperial Army General Staff , No. 1, pp. 430–456.


It was speculated that China was spreading the fire to the lower Yangtze valley, the hub of British colonial interest, to invite Anglo–American intervention on its behalf.[9] Chinese leaders also appear to have been unduly optimistic about the efficacy of the German-trained Chinese divisions. The fateful war was on. Yet it seems reasonable to suggest that there was an even chance for a modus vivendi on the basis of Kuomintang control of north China and Japanese control of Manchuria before the Lukouchiao Incident. Furthermore, several attempts were to be made, both in China and Japan, to return to that formula in search of peace.

The realization of uneasy domestic peace after the Sian Incident enabled the CCP to use a wider assortment of means to hasten the coming of war, including steps to assure the Kuomintang of its loyalty. Chou En-lai handled the extremely tense negotiation with Chang Chung, a member of the Kuomintang's Central Executive Committee. Nanking still adhered to it searlier demand for surrender by the Communists. Precisely what it was that the CCP agreed to is not certain. Chang Kuo-t'ao states that the Kuomintang allowed only yes-or-no answers to its terms and that the CCP Center instructed Chou En-lai to accept them in spite of the fear that, unless war commenced soon, the Communists would be forced to live up to them.[10] When the secret agreement was reached, I infer, the Kuomintang instructed the CCP to issue a public statement asking for peace. The Kuomintang, according to this plan, would then respond by offering its terms.

On February 10, the CCP issued its statement addressed to the Third Plenum of the Kuomintang's Central Executive Committee; but the CCP's terms were at variance with the Kuomintang's. The CCP promised that:

(1) The policy of armed insurrection to overthrow the National Government will be discontinued throughout the country;

(2) The Workers' and Peasants' Democratic Government will be renamed the Government of the Special Region of the Republic of China and the Red Army will be redesignated as part of the National Revolutionary Army, and they will come under the direction of the Central Government in Nanking and its Military Council respectively;

(3) a thoroughly democratic system based on universal suffrage will be put into effect in the areas under the Government of the Special Region; and

(4) the policy of confiscating the land of the landlords will be discontinued

[9] Crowley, p. 347.

[10] "Wo ti hui-i," Ming Pao , No. 57, September, 1970, p. 96. Chiang Kai-shek also states that his terms were accepted prior to the Lukouchiao Incident, in Soviet Russia in China , p. 73.


and the common programme of the anti-Japanese national united front resolutely carried out.[11]

The crux of this statement was that the CCP did not promise anything more than redesignation of the Red Army, renaming of the soviets, and discontinuation of confiscation. Moreover, the CCP was united on these points. Wang Ming railed at the "harsh demands" of the Kuomintang and opposed "bodily disintegration" of the Red Army during the negotiation.[12]

The Kuomintang's conditions were formally announced in The Resolution Concerning the Complete Eradication of Red Menace passed by the Third Plenum on Febraury 21. The Resolution demanded "thorough liquidation of the so-called 'Red Army'"; a similar liquidation of the soviet governments; cessation of Communist propaganda; and cessation of class struggle.[13] Most writers take this Resolution to be a subterfuge to conceal the fact that Nanking was granting a ceasefire to the CCP. But it must be pointed out, in the light of subsequent events, that the Kuomintang was serious in its declared intention to "eradicate Red menace." The Resolution simply signified that Nanking was willing to forego military means for the time being to attain this end. Therefore the Third Plenum can be regarded as the major turning point in the Kuomintang's strategy. It was here that the Kuomintang switched from the strategy of "unfication first" to one which sought unification within the framework of resistance—an exact counterpart of the CCP's strategy.

The CCP's position was precarious, and only a full scale war could have given it a respite. Whether the CCP played a part in triggering the fighting cannot be known; but it was obviously more than a mere bystander. The conference of the Party delegates in May—at which Mao was rebuked by his critics for his radicalism—was the occasion on which the CCP placed itself on war footing. From this conference, Party organizers were dispatched to many parts of north China in anticipation of war.[14] On the night of July 7 the initial shooting took place at 10:40 P.M. ; Tokyo did not receive a rather routine report until early the next morning.[15] The situation was uncertain and murky, since it resembled several other instances of attack on Japanese citizens and troops that had preceded it. But the CCP re-

[11] Selected Works , I, 281–282.

[12] "The key to the salvation of the Chinese nation," Chugoku[*] kyosanto[*] 1937-nen shi , pp. 92–119. In this criticism of the Kuomintang's Third Plenum, Wang Ming vows that the Red Army will keep all offices of political workers and that the soviet will retain its soviet character, Ibid. , pp. 107–108.

[13] Wang Chien-min, III, 103–105.

[14] See below, p. 91.

[15] Imperial Army General Staff , No. 1, p. 429.


acted with surprising swiftness. On July 8 the Central Committee issued a circular telegram urging armed resistance.[16] Following the local truce of July 11, tense confrontation continued between Sung Che-yüan's 29th Army and the Japanese forces. For several nights both sides complained that the other side was firing at night in violation of truce. On the night of July 22, Japanese military police entered the no man's land lying between the two sides and arrested a band of Chinese students who were firing guns into the air. They confessed that they were working under Liu Shao-ch'i's direction.[17]

The CCP forwarded a declaration on the united front to the Kuomintang on July 15 with the expectation that Chiang Kai-shek would make it public at his discretion with a parallel declaration of his own. But Chiang-Kai-shek kept the declaration in abeyance for more than two months thereafter.[18] On August 21, one week after the fighting spread to Shanghai, he signed a nonaggression pact with the Soviet Union. By an accompanying agreement, the Soviet Union promised a credit of 100 million yuan (some US$30 million).[19] On the following day, Nanking announced the appointment of Chu Te and P'eng Tehuai as the supreme and vice commanders respectively of the 18th Group Army, to be made up of former Red Army forces. The 18th Group Army or the Eighth Route Army, as the Communists preferred to call it, was assigned to the Second War Zone in northern Shansi Province under Yen Hsi-shan's command. The timing of this announcement suggested Russian involvement in the united front, but what was agreed upon, if anything, remains unknown.

At last, on September 22, the Kuomintang made public the CCP's declaration. The four-point pledge made by the CCP on this occasion is identical with those points in the February 10 statement with respect to the status of the Communist army and government. But the CCP made some additional concessions: it dropped its earlier demand for a "common program" and pledged its support for Sun Yat-sen's Three People's Principles.[20] On September 23 Chiang Kai-shek reciprocated with his own message commending the Communist party

[16] Chungkuo Kung-ch'an-tang wei Jih-chün chin-kung Lukouch'iao t'ung-tien [Circular telegram of the CCP on Japanese attack on Lukouchiao] Kuo-Kung ho-tso , pp. 102–103.

[17] Teradaira, Nihon no higeki , pp. 282–287; Imperial Army General Staff , No. 1, p. 446.

[18] Selected Works , I, 37.

[19] Arthur N. Young, China and the Helping Hand, 1937–1945 (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1963), p. 22.

[20] Chung-Kung wei kung-pu Kuo-Kung ho-tso hsüan-yen [The CCP's declaration for the proclamation of Kuomintang–CCP cooperation], K'ang-Jih min-tsu t'ung-i chan-hsien chih-nan [Guide to the anti-Japanese national united front] (hereinafter cited as Guide ) (Chieh-fang-she), II, 18–20.


for "surrendering its prejudices."[21] This formalized the second united front.

The war and the united front were on. But the CCP leadership suffered from internal differences and did not have coherent policies for the resistance or the united front. Moscow was evidently concerned over the indirection of the CCP and smuggled Wang Ming back to Yenan in late 1937.[22] The dispute between him and Mao came to a climax shortly thereafter. The subjects of dispute in the Party were as follows:

(1) The most generic question was the nature and purpose of the united front. Was it to be primarily an anti-imperialist struggle based on the unity of all Chinese, transcending old partisan differences? Or was it to be a combination of anti-imperialist and anti-feudal struggles?

(2) Wang Ming sought to convene the CCP's Seventh Party Congress early with a blessing from the Comintern.[23] This Congress was to formally terminate the Party's line of the civil war period and to bring the CCP in line with the new popular front line of the Comintern.

(3) The CCP demanded in its February 10 telegram that the Kuomintang and the CCP adopt a common program for the united front. This raised two questions. First, there was a question as to whether the CCP should presume to be the full equal of the Kuomintang and propose such a thing at all. Second, if the Kuomintang were to rebuff the CCP, there remained a question as to what sort of public platform the CCP should adopt. Such a program amounted to a statement of the CCP's goals for the bourgeois-democratic stage of the revolution or an outline of the "Democratic Republic" it vowed to build. In either case, this program would spell out a broad range of reforms for China, e.g., convocation of a national assembly to promulgate a new constitution, convening of a new parliamentary institution to replace the Kuomintang's "tutelage," the nature of the "national defense government," social and economic reforms, and the like.

(4) Questions related to organizational form of the second united front. Even though the Cominterm stipulated at the Seventh Con-

[21] Chiang Kai-shek, The Collected Wartime Messages of Generalissimo Chiang Kai-shek, 1937–1945 (New York: The John Day Co., 1946), I, 42. See Chiang Kaishek's own understanding of the agreement, in Soviet Russia in China , p. 81.

[22] All Russian flights in China had to have the government's permission, but this was one of the exceptions. Chang Kuo-t'ao puts the date of Wang Ming's return as late December. "Wo ti hui-i," Ming Pao , No. 61, January, 1971, p. 90.

[23] That the Comintern supported the convening of the Seventh CCP Congress is my own inference.


gress that "right opportunism" which blurred the class line must be avoided,[24] specific questions seem to have been left open. The CCP had to decide whether its members should join the Kuomintang as individuals as during the first united front; whether, instead, the two parties should act as equals in a coalition; or whether the Communist party should infiltrate Kuomintang organizations.

(5) The land program of the CCP during the resistance period. This was formally subsumed under the question of common program. Although some major decision had already been made by May, the CCP seems to have been still divided when the war began. The Kuomintang demanded, and the CCP agreed to, cessation of confiscation of the property of the landlord class. The seriousness of problems entailed by this agreement can hardly be overstressed. Could the CCP carry out peasant revolution without distributing land among the poor? Should the Communist forces subsist on the government's pay and not expand themselves? Because of its importance, I will deal with the land program in Chapters IV and VII.

(6) Questions concerning the organization of the Communist forces, the Eighth Route Army in the north and the remnants of the Red Army in central China. The key question was, Should the Communist forces be integrated into the Kuomintang forces?

(7) The question above was a part of larger issues having to do with the CCP's military strategy in the war.

Different solutions to these issues affected two other major questions which were, however, never explicitly articulated on their own terms. One concerned the struggle for power between Mao Tse-tung and Wang Ming. With respect to the united front with the Kuomintang, formal differences between them disappeared during the Sian Incident. The essence of the contention from then on was the extent and manner in which the united front should be made to serve different visions of the Chinese revolution. The other question—bound up with the first one—concerned the latent differences between nationalism in the Chinese Communist movement and the interest of Soviet Russia.

On August 25, the Politburo opened an important conference at Loch'uan in Shensi Province to lay down policy guidelines for the

[24] Georgi Dimitrov, "Fa-hsi-ssu chu-i ti chin-kung ho Kung-ch'an-kuo-chi wei tsao-ch'eng kung-jen chieh-chi fan-tui fa-hsi-ssu chu-i ti t'ung-i erh tou-cheng ti jen-wu" [Fascist aggression and the Communist International's struggle and task in uniting the proletariat against fascism] (Dimitrov's report to the Seventh Comintern Congress, passed on August 20), Mu-ch'ien hsing-shih ti fen-hsi [Analysis of the current situation] (no date, no publisher listed) (Hoover), p. 16. For a good study of the gradual shift in the Comintern's line in 1935, see Van Slyke, pp. 48–53.


Party on the eve of the departure of the Eighth Route Army to the front. Military leaders such as P'eng Te-huai, Ho Lung, Liu Po-ch'eng and Lin Piao were present.[25] Several major decision—representing a compromise between Mao and his opponents—were made.

The conference debated a common program for the united front. A ten point program appeared originally in Wang Ming's speech to the Comintern Congress and in the August First Declaration. It was his platform for the united front. On July 23, 1937, Mao had offered an Eight Point Program and contrasted it sharply with another set of measures, which he identified with the government of "the bureaucrats, compradors, gentry and landlords."[26] The Loch'uan conference adopted the Ten Point National Salvation Program (Shih-ta chiu-kuo kang-ling) .[27] A textual comparison of the three programs does not reveal any significant differences since they all consisted of abstract generalities.

But internal differences over a common program remained. Mao apparently demanded a program for the united front as he defined it, i.e., one in which the CCP would exercise independent leadership. Wang Ming, I surmise, maintained on the contrary that a common program must be acceptable to the Kuomintang. The CCP's September 22 declaration, which received Chiang Kai-shek's compliments, dropped the earlier demand for a common program. Shortly after the convocation of the Kuomintang's Extraordinary National Congress (March 27–April 2, 1938), which adopted the Program of Resistance and Reconstruction , Wang Ming announced that he was prepared to accept the Kuomintang's program as the common program of the united front. Ch'in Pang-hsien and Chou En-lai concurred.[28]

The Loch'uan conference also debated the CCP's participation in the Kuomintang government, though a resolution was not issued until September 25.[29] It forbade CCP members to take part in the government at any level so long as it remained a "one-party dictatorship"

[25] "Wo ti hui-i," Ming Pao , No. 58, October, 1970, p. 90.

[26] "Policies, Measures and Perspectives for Resisting the Japanese Invasion," Selected Works , II, 13–20. It is possible that Mao was criticizing Wang Ming by criticizing the Kuomintang.

[27] "For the Mobilization of All the Nation's Forces for Victory in the War of Resistance," ibid ., pp. 25–28. This document was originally issued by the Propaganda Department of the CCP on August 15 as agitation–propaganda manual. See Guide , II, 11–17. A footnote in Selected Works , II, 23, states that Mao wrote it. But the document ends with Wang Ming's slogan, "independent, free, and happy China." See below, p. 80, for my inference that this slogan was Wang Ming's.

[28] Ch'en Shao-yü, Ch'in Pang-hsien, Chou En-lai, "Wo-men tui-yü pao-wei Wuhan yü ti-san-ch'i k'ang-chan wen-t'i ti i-chien" [Our opinion concerning the defense of Wuhan and the third stage of resistance], Guide , V, 126.

[29] Selected Works , II, 72–73.


under the Kuomintang. Participation in a government which did not acknowledge the CCP's own program, it was feared, would undermine the Party's independence. There were two exceptions to this rule:

Communists can participate in the local governments of certain particular regions such as the battle areas, where on the one hand the old rulers, unable to rule as before, are in the main willing to put into effect the proposals of the Communist Party and the Communist Party has obtained freedom of open activities, and on the other the present emergency has made Communist participation a necessity, in the opinion of both the people and the government. In areas occupied by the Japanese invaders, Communists should furthermore openly come forward as organizers of the political power of the anti-Japanese united front.[30]

The other exception was participation in a popular assembly such as the National Political Council which the Kuomintang established shortly thereafter.

Chang Wen-t'ien gave a keynote report with Mao's support and revived the thesis of the Wayaopao Resolution that the CCP should combine the resistance with the revolution. Chang Kuo-t'ao led the opposition by pointing out that such a policy was likely to compel the Kuomintang to join hands with Japan against the Communists. The report was withdrawn. It was revised by deleting all direct references to revolutionary effort.[31] As approved later the report stated that "a great danger lurks in the present state of resistance. The main reason for this danger is that the Kuomintang is still unwilling to arouse the whole people to take part in the war."[32] The report demanded that, in order to turn the war into a total national war, the CCP should mobilize the masses by assuming the leadership over the united front. The report was meant to be a theoretical justification for the solution of two urgent problems on hand.

The order of battle for the Communist forces had just been issued by Nanking.[33] The three divisions of the Eighth Route Army—the 115th under Lin Piao, the 120th under Ho Lung, and the 129th under Liu Po-ch'eng—were to move out of the newly designated Shensi–Kansu–Nighsia Border Region to join Yen Hsi-han's command. The questions of their relationship to the Kuomintang's command and their conduct on the battlefield had to be decided.

The Kuomintang still clung to the hope of integrating the Communist forces into its own. It proposed to attach its officers as cadres

[30] Ibid. , p. 73.

[31] "Wo ti hui-i," Ming Pao , No. 59, November, 1970, p. 86.

[32] Resolution on the Present Situation and the Tasks of the Party, Selected Works , II, 70–71.

[33] Soviet Russia in China , p. 83.


of the Communist forces. In addition, it demanded the abolition of the system of political commissars and political department.[34] Mao and Jen Pi-shih were reported to have opposed any compromise of the independence of the Communist forces.[35] Chou En-lai and Chu Te were inclined to move closer to the Kuomintang's demand. Chang Went'ien worked out an internal compromise.[36] The office of political commissar was abolished and the former commissars were re-appointed as deputies to the commanders of a unit or as directors of the political department. The political department was to keep its organization and function intact but was renamed the political training department.[37] The Eighth Route Army was to refuse any Kuomintang officers, but a small staff was to be allowed to work in Yenan for liaison purposes.[38] However, the changes in the system of political commissar and political department were undone by November, and these offices functioned as before.[39]

The question of reorganization was actually subsidiary to the more fundamental issues concerning military strategy of the CCP in the war. The war situation as it confronted the Party leadership at the end of August, 1937, demanded answers to several urgent questions. What were Japan's intentions in China and elsewhere? Did Japan renounce the policy of localizing the war when it vowed to "chastise" the Chinese government in August? Was not the policy of "chastisement" still limited in its purpose? Was Tokyo secretly in touch with Nanking in an attempt to arrive at some political solution to the war? What were the chances of intervention or mediation by a third power? What was Japan's capability in military as well as in broader terms to back up its announced intentions? How did the Japanese forces compare with the Kuomintang forces with which the Red Army had had long experience? Were tactics sanctioned by the Party leadership for use against the latter equally adequate against the former? What should be the relationship of the Eighth Route Army to the Kuomintang's regular forces and other "friendly forces" on the battlefield? If the initial thrust of the Japanese invasion could be maintained, would the Kuomintang defense collapse or would it be able to hold out in the interior? What sort of strategy should it follow to stay in the war? Should the Eighth Route Army actively assist the other Chinese forces or should it follow an independent course?

[34] Selected Works , II, 67.

[35] Warren Kuo, "The Conference at Lochuan," Issues and Studies , October, 1968, p. 43. Kuo quotes Chen Jan, his informer, here.

[36] Ibid. , pp. 43–44; "Wo ti hui-i," Ming Pao , No. 59, November, 1970, p. 85.

[37] Selected Works , II, 67.

[38] "Wo ti hui-i," Ming Pao , No. 59, November, 1970, p. 86.

[39] Selected Works , II, 67.


Inasmuch as the role of the army loomed so large under the wartime conditions, these questions brought out all the political differences in the Politburo. The conference was wracked by a sharp clash of opinions and had to be adjourned for three days to recompose itself.[40] It was reported in 1967 that the meeting "decided to adopt the strategy of independent guerrilla warfare in the mountains."[41] This was Mao's line. Extrapolating from later events, it can be assumed that Chu Te, P'eng Te-huai, and Liu Po-ch'eng, among the military leaders, sided with Chang Kuo-t'ao against Mao.[42] A military strategic dispute, comparable in significance to the one that took place at Tsunyi, was under way. Both Mao and his opponents produced a considerable amount of literature to develop and defend their respective positions taken at Loch'uan. The nature of the dispute will become clear in the light of subsequent events.

As the Peiping–Tientsin area was cleared of the Chinese resistance, the Japanese forces, now beefed up to eight divisions and a mixed brigade, were placed under a new command, the North China Army Army under Terauchi Hisaichi. In early September, the Area Army began its advance southwestward toward Paoting to attack the Chinese forces led by Wan Fu-lin. Once unleashed, the Japanese forces did not stop until they took Taiyuan in early November. The Area Army moved in three prongs, the main force moving down the Peiping–Hankow railway, another force on its southern flank moving along the Tientsin–Pukow railway. A third, made up of the Fifth Division commanded by Lieutenant General Itagaki and a detachment of the Kuantung Army was to secure the northern flank across the Great Wall in Chahar. The Itagaki Division crossed the Wall around Nank'ou and began sweeping westward along the Wall toward Lingch'iu, where it was to cross the Wall again to enter Shansi Province. The pass was defended by the Shansi Army (Yen Hsi-shan's forces) led by its deputy commander Yang Ai-yüan.[43] Lin Piao's 115th Division, along with Ho Lung's 120th and Liu Po-ch'eng's 129th Division, had crossed the Yellow River near T'ungkuan in early September and moved northeastward by the Tat'ung–P'uchow railway to join the Second War Zone's command. The 115th Division and the 17th Army

[40] "Wo ti hui-i," Ming Pao , No. 59, November, 1970, p. 85.

[41] Li Hsin-kung, "Settle Accounts With Peng Teh-huai for His Heinous Crimes of Usurping Army Leadership and Opposing the Party," Peking Review , September 1, 1967, p. 13.

[42] Ibid . This author accuses P'eng Te-huai of following the second Wang Ming line at the Loch'uan conference.

[43] A very good study of the Battle of P'inghsingkuan, using Communist sources, is in Sydney Liu, "The Battle of P'inghsingkuan: A Significant Event in Lin Piao's Career," The China Mainland Review , December, 1966, pp. 161–173.



Map 3
The 8th Route Army's Movements, September–November, 1937

of the Northeast Army led by Kao Kwei-chih were to take part in the campaign around Lingch'iu by taking flanking actions.

Bitter fighting commenced when the Japanese 21st Brigade, composed of three infantry battalions, was surrounded by Yen Hsi-shan's forces, ten divisions strong, on September 22. Post-war Japanese accounts show that the Shansi Army fought courageously and nearly decimated the 21st Brigade before the Brigade was rescued by the


main force a week later.[44] The Shansi Army and the Communist forces appeared to have been poorly coordinated, however. Both Yang and Lin ignored the original plan and failed to send reinforcements to each other.[45] Lin left the battle four days before Yang but not before he had laid a successful ambush independently on a unit of the 21st Brigade in a narrow gap near P'inghsingkuan.

Two days before the ambush, Lin Piao spent a good deal of time by himself at the bivouac site writing up a report to be presented to the cadres of the division the following day. The report lasted for two hours. According to an eyewitness, Lin Piao said at the end,

At present we want to have combat in this area, to give the beastly army a blow, to show the friendly forces [ours] cooperation, and to give our forces a tonic. . . . These several days I have been involved in a study to see what method will be required of this battle to win a complete victory, to capture several prisoners to send straight back to the rear, and to drum up sentiment for resistance and confidence in victory among the masses. . . .[46]

The division moved out during the night to take up positions along a narrow gap overlooking a highway. In the immediate battlefield were the 343rd Brigade and an independent regiment of roughly 6,500 troops, backed up by a protective force of the 344th Brigade of 5,000 near by.[47] In the early morning of September 25, a transport unit of the First Battalion of the 21st Brigade moved into the ravine. The trap was sprung by disabling the leading vehicle. Then the entire unit was wiped out. It was a good example of a set-piece battle of annihilation. Only four men survived. Chinese Communist propaganda has claimed ever since that Lin Piao annihilated the 21st Brigade of 4,000 troops.[48] According to the survivors as well as to P'eng Te-huai's revelation, however, the unit concerned was no more than one hundred in strength, including an escort of one platoon.[49] The Communist account stated that the battle lasted from 7 A.M. until 3 P.M. and included the successful repulse of a Japanese counter-

[44] Pacification War , No. 1, pp. 37–39.

[45] Sydney Liu, pp. 164–165.

[46] Lin Piao, et al., Chin-pei yu-chi chan-cheng chi-shih [Annals of guerrilla war in north Shansi] (Changsha: Chan-shih ch'u-pan-she, 1938) (BI), p. 37.

[47] Sydney Liu, p. 169.

[48] K'ang-Jih chan-cheng shih-ch'i ti Chung-kuo jen-min chieh-fang chün [The Chinese People's Liberation Army during the resistance against Japan] (hereinafter cited as PLA during resistance ) (Peking: Jen-min ch'u-pan-she, 1954), p. 14.

[49] Kyodo[*] butai hishi: 21i, yanagi no hana to heitai to [Secret history of the home town troops: the 21st Infantry Regiment, the willow blossoms and soldiers] (Tottorishi: Shimane shinbunsha, 1962), pp. 117–137. Incidentally, the survivors recall being strafed in the ravine by aircraft marked by "blue sky and white sun." P'eng Tehuai revealed later that Lin Piao's division collected less than 100 rifles, in Kung-fei huo-kuo , III, 351.


charge to take a hill overlooking the road.[50] According to Chang Kuo-t'ao, Lin Piao's division suffered casualties of one thousand or more.[51] Both of these stories seem too inflated to be true.

As organized resistance subsided toward the end of the battle, the Communist forces were treated to an eerie sight. The surviving Japanese troops, most of them probably wounded, destroyed the supplies, the wagons, and themselves. The Communist troops had approached them with the assumption that they were like any other foe encountered in the civil war. They stood up and called out to the Japanese to surrender, but to no avail.[52]

Lin Piao wrote "summing-up" reports of his experiences at P'ing-hsingkuan, for external and internal consumption. Both served political purposes. In sharp contrast to the Party's propaganda and his own external report, the internal report indicated that the battle had had a sobering effect on him. One of the reports, dated October 17, is summarized below.[53]

(1) Once the enemy gets to a combat in the mountains, his fighting capacity and special strength decline greatly. His artillery, tanks, and aircraft are not very useful.

(2) The enemy has built up a habit of belittling the Chinese armed forces. He disregards proper caution and reconnaissance, and is reluctant to do construction work and neglects field fortification. We often find him resting in a ditch even under our attack.

(3) The enemy relies considerably on transport from the rear for his ammunition. His food is all shipped from Japan. The enemy's rear has already extended for several thousand li . [Chinese mile]. Once cut off from his supplies, his difficulty is easy to imagine. This is precisely what we did at P'inghsing-kuan.

(4) To strike the enemy's flank or rear when he is engaging our friendly forces in the latter's position is the best method of fighting. This is better than engaging him while in movement or when he has just arrived at a position and not yet established his perimeter.

(5) In order to avoid his artillery and aircraft, we must quickly advance on the enemy upon the commencement of combat, and throw in hand-to-hand assault in successive waves. This will make his artillery useless.

(6) Coordination by the friendly forces is in reality extremely bad. They decide on a plan for attack but are unable to follow through with it themselves. "You strike, they stand by and watch." They are irresolute and unable to strike a decisive blow at the enemy. They do not know how to concentrate

[50] Jen-min jih-pao , August 1, 1963.

[51] "Wo ti hui-i," Ming Pao , No. 60, December, 1970, p. 88.

[52] PLA during resistance , pp. 15–16.

[53] "P'inghsingkuan chan-tou ti ching-yen" [Experiences of the Battle of P'ing-hsingkuan], Guide , II, 187–190.


an absolutely overwhelming force at a decisive spot. Their command is incompetent in the extreme.

(7) The enemy soldiers have enormous fighting ability. We never encountered such a strong foe in the Northern Expedition or Soviet period. Their infantrymen are able to deploy themselves with individual initiative in combat situations. Although wounded, they refuse to give up arms.

(8) The Japanese soldier's refusal to surrender comes from his bushido and fascist education, and at the same time from the fear of reprisal by the Chinese people after having inflicted atrocities on them. It is important to note that the North China forces have in the past taken a mistaken policy toward Japanese prisoners, such as burying them alive, burning them, or cutting their bellies open. We must also strengthen our propaganda in Japanese.

(9) Night assault is an important method of defeating the Japanese forces. The enemy fears night assault. His technological superiority is reduced at night.

(10) Under the present strength and technological conditions of the Eighth Route Army, basically we ought to concentrate on attacking the enemy's rear and the road to his rear. Cutting the road to his rear is the best method of obstructing his advance and winning the protracted war. Constantly amassing a large force and engaging the enemy in mobile warfare is inappropriate.

(11) If the central forces persist in defensive tactics, they are inviting real trouble. They should wage quick battle or mobile warfare, improve their political work and mass work.

(12) Our army's military skill and training still leave a great deal to be desired. In the past half year, our troops have had a chance to rest and regroup, and their discipline, morale and regularization have progressed greatly; but in combat training we have a long way to go yet.

Lin did not make clear in this report whether he regarded the battle as mobile warfare or guerrilla warfare, properly speaking. But he seemed to assume that mobile warfare was for the Kuomintang regular forces to wage. It developed soon that Lin Piao's position on strategic and tactical questions of the anti-Japanese war was exactly identical with Mao's. It appears that Mao instructed Lin to engage the Japanese forces in a successful battle to demonstrate his military line and to propel the CCP into the limelight of public attention.

The Chinese public responded with enthusiasm to the news that a Japanese brigade was wiped out. It mattered little whether the credit belonged to Yen Hsi-shan or the Communists. But Yen Hsi-shan could not have taken the falsification with equanimity, and P'eng Te-huai was concerned about the consequence on the united front.[54]

Shortly after the fall of Shanghai and Taiyuan, the Central Com-

[54] Union Research Institute, The Case of Peng Teh-huai, 1959–1968 (Hong Kong, 1968), p. 191.


mittee issued a directive which stated that "in north China regular warfare which relies mainly on the Kuomintang has already been concluded, and guerrilla warfare which relies on the Communist Party has entered its main phase."[55] Mao was ordering his field commanders to disengage from the enemy and to start building bases. Again, Lin Piao wrote an essay amplifying and supporting Mao's views.[56] At the same time, Mao complained of a "new type of warlordism" and "individualistic heroism" in the Eighth Route Army.[57] The military strategic dispute was intensifying.

Mao surmised correctly that Japan's leadership was internally divided over the China policy and could not follow a consistent line.[58] The fear of a two-front war against the Soviet Union and China, and Japan's limited resources, kept the General Staff from committing an overwhelming force at the outset to break the Kuomintang's resistance. Mao evidently felt that as long as the Kuomintang forces avoided decisive battles thereafter they would provide the mainstay of a protracted resistance. He estimated correctly that the roughly thirty divisions operating in China in 1938 were the upper limits in the force level which Japan could spare for the China theater.[59] Continued resistance by the Kuomintang's regular forces to keep the bulk of the Japanese forces stalemated was the single most crucial factor in Mao's prediction of a protracted war, though this is not immediately apparent in his writings. Obviously addressing himself to the Kuomintang, he counseled: "We should absolutely avoid a strategically decisive engagement on which the fate of the nation is staked," especially in the early stage of the war.[60] In this sense, Mao could not have been more agreeable to Chiang Kai-shek's slogan of "trading space for time" and seemed much relieved when a near-disaster was averted at Hsüchow by the Kuomintang forces beating a timely "strategic retreat."[61]

Related to Mao's call for the Kuomintang regulars to tide over the "early" stage of the war was the stand he had presumably taken that whatever the Communist forces could do by way of resistance had little influence on the course of the war in and of itself. With this, other Communist leaders could not have disagreed. The Eighth

[55] Chi Wu, I-ke ke-min ken-chü-ti ti ch'eng-ch'ang [The growth of one revolutionary base] (hereinafter cited as Growth of one revolutionary base ) (Peking: Jenmin ch'u-pan-she, 1958), p. 16. This message can be found in Selected Works , II, 62.

[56] "Lun hua-pei cheng-kui-chan ti chi-pen chiao-hsün yü yu-chi-chan-cheng ti fa-chan t'iao-chien" [Discussion on the basic lessons of regular warfare in north China and the conditions for development of guerrilla warfare], Guide , V, 55–73.

[57] Selected Works , II, 66–67.

[58] Ibid ., II, 63, 178, 179.

[59] Ibid ., p. 178–179.

[60] Ibid ., p. 180.

[61] Ibid ., pp. 179, 181.


Route Army was understrength at roughly 30,000 when the war began;[62] it had no artillery; in training and combat experience it was no match for the Japanese forces. Lin Piao's report was very emphatic that the Japanese were much tougher than the Kuomintang forces. It followed that strategies and tactics to be used against the Japanese forces should be different from those sanctioned by the Party vis-à-vis the Kuomintang forces in the civil war. The sober tone of his internal report stemmed from this political purpose. When Mao proposed at Loch' uan that the Communist forces should fight "independent guerrilla warfare in the mountains," he was in fact advocating a new military line in a rudimentary form. To use current terminology, Mao was ordering the Communist forces to de-escalate. He was discouraging "mobile warfare" for the Communist forces. He was opposed by P'eng Te-huai. P'eng issued a directive in October on his initiative as the deputy secretary of the Front Branch of the Military Commission demanding "mobile guerrilla warfare."[63]

Against this backdrop of political dispute in the Party, the other element in Mao's military proposal took on added significance. To retain the element of surprise and initiative in battle had always been an important part of Mao's military line. But in the context of the second united front, "independent guerrilla warfare" or "to fight on our own initiative" meant refusal to follow the directions of Kuomintang command and to assist the "friendly forces." Again there were good reasons for avoiding tight tactical coordination with sundry Chinese forces operating on the battlefield. Parochial concern of regionalized Chinese forces for self-preservation was reinforced by old suspicion toward the former Red Army. At Loch' uan Mao expressed the fear that the Kuomintang command might use the Communist forces as a sacrifice to the Japanese forces.[64] But ultimately Mao's line of "independent guerrilla warfare" was dictated by his revolutionary goal. The areas behind the advancing Japanese line was the only place where the Communist forces would enjoy freedom from the Kuomintang forces. Hence, Mao instructed his forces to carry out "exterior-line operations within the interior-line operations."[65]

The strength of the opposition to Mao did not rest solely on the authority of the Comintern. As was to become a pattern hereafter, the political fortunes of the opposing sides were tied to the objective developments in the war. The war was going badly for China toward

[62] "Wo ti hui-i," Ming Pao , No. 58, October, 1970, p. 90.

[63] The Case of Peng Teh-huai , p. 190.

[64] "Wo ti hui-i," Ming Pao , No. 59, November, 1970, p. 86.

[65] Selected Works , II, 82.


the end of 1937. Taiyuan fell in November in spite of stubborn resistance by a combined operation of the central forces, the Shansi Army, and the Eighth Route Army. A wedge was driven southwestward along Tat'ung–P'uchow and the Peiping-Hankow railways. Shansi Province with its rich mineral resources and a good part of north China was about to fall. After the fall of Shanghai, Nanking was threatened; the Chinese government moved its seat upriver to Wuhan on November 16.

In Tokyo an intense debate was going on between the Army General Staff and Premier Konoe. Colonel Ishiwara Kanji of the Army General Staff led the group which demanded a quick settlement of the war in order to build up the forces in Manchuria and to proceed with long-range preparation against the Soviet Union and the United States. He insisted that Japan should seek a political end of the war in China by offering terms which would be acceptable to the Kuomintang government.[66] The cabinet decided on October 22 to probe the Kuomintang government's willingness to enter into peace negotiations by using the channel provided by the German government.[67] Chiang Kai-shek in effect refused the initial terms by demanding the status quo of July 7. But as the Japanese forces shifted their weight to central China and started advancing toward Nanking, he reconsidered his original position. On December 2, Chiang was reported to have met with Pai Ch'ung-hsi, T'ang Sheng-chih, Hsü Yung-ch'ang, and Ku Chu-t'ung. The meeting decided to accept the earlier Japanese conditions as the basis for negotiation. On the following day, Chiang notified the German ambassador O.P. Trautmann of his decision.[68]

The CCP got wind of the peace contact.[69] It is interesting to note that the CCP was informed of every major peace discussion between China and Japan from this point on. The Politburo met for a conference between December 9 and 13. How to keep China in the war, I infer, was the question of overriding urgency at the conference. The Japanese terms of peace of November 3 were relatively lenient. If, having demonstrated its military superiority, the Japanese army suddenly withdrew from north China, the militant public opinion that demanded a reckoning with Japan would have been dampened. Moreover, the terms of peace stipulated China's cooperation with Japan against the Comintern. With or without such an agreement, the end

[66] Crowley, pp. 351–353.

[67] Ibid ., pp. 354–358.

[68] Ibid ., p. 358; Kindai no senso[*] [Modern wars], Vol. V: Imai Takeo, Chugoku[*] to no tatakai [The war with China] (Tokyo: Jinbutsu orai-sha[*] , 1966), p. 103.

[69] Warren Kuo, "The Conflict between Chen Shao-yu and Mao Tse-tung," Issues and Studies , November, 1968, p. 40.


of the war was likely to bring about a renewed campaign to suppress the Communist forces.

At this time, Mao's dialectics took him quite far in a sectarian direction. At a meeting of the Party activists in Yenan in November, he characterized his opponents by saying, "class capitulationism is actually the reserve force of national capitulationism . . . . "[70] This remark was evidently divorced from the sentiment of the majority in the CCP leadership. "Resistance against Japan is of paramount importance," said Wang Ming,

and everything must be subordinated to its needs; all efforts must be directed at the anti-Japanese united front, all things must be channeled through the anti-Japanese united front. . . . it is no time to engage in a power struggle for leadership.[71]

With Wang Ming's presence, the most basic questions concerning the united front were revived. Later, in December, the Party issued a manifesto to allay the Kuomintang's suspicions and restore credibility to its pledge of cooperation. It pointed out that the main stumbling block in the resistance was not China's military weakness but "rather the intensified Japanese plot to 'pit Chinese against Chinese.'"[72] It even went so far as to promise to "cooperate with the Kuomintang for national reconstruction after the successful conclusion of the war."[73]

The military critics of Mao fell in line. As military men, they were as conscious as Mao of the power of the new enemy and the relative inferiority of the Kuomintang and the Communist forces. A retreat in the initial phase was inevitable. But the war would be "protracted" only if "capitulation" was averted. Undue stress on "self-preservation" (Mao), "trading space for time" (Chiang Kai-shek), "scorched earth strategy"[74] and other negative defenses only tended to strengthen the attitudes of passivity, despondency, and longing for Western intervention.

The military leaders might have differed from Mao in the first instance in their judgement on the combat capability of the Eighth

[70] Selected Works , II, 70. This was delivered on November 12 and "met with immediate opposition from the Right opportunists in the Party," ibid ., p. 61.

[71] "The Current Situation and Tasks in the War of Resistance," cited in Warren Kuo, "The Conflict between Chen Shao-yu and Mao Tse-tung," Issues and Studies , December, 1968, p. 49.

[72] Chungkuo Kung-ch'an-tang tui shih-ch'ü hsüan-yen [The CCP's declaration on the current situation], Guide , III, 2.

[73] Ibid .

[74] In November, 1938, the Chinese garrison in Changsha set the city on fire in the name of "scorched earth war." This prompted Wang Ching-wei to point out the ominous implications of the destructive war for Republican China.


Route Army. This was ostensibly an empirical question. On the grounds that it was as yet weak and understrength, Mao counseled its expansion and buildup. To his opponents in the army, expansion of the army made sense only if it were directly applied to armed resistance. It was one thing to argue for strategic defensive. It was something else to de-escalate.

Both P'eng Te-huai and Chu Te were convinced that guerrilla warfare could not make a dent in the Japanese military power. P'eng and Chu Te maintained that the Eighth Route Army was capable of carrying out missions large enough to inflict substantial losses on the Japanese forces.[75] The extent of opposition to Mao among the army leadership was surprising. They rested their case formally on military grounds, though they were no doubt aware of the implication of their stand for internal politics. Military professionalism and nationalism seem to have swayed some of them to become strange bedfellows of Wang Ming, so to speak.

But then there were others whose opposition to Mao was more overtly political. Hsiang Ying, the vice commander of the New Fourth Army, was the most outspoken advocate of mobile warfare. His personal conflict with Mao dated back to Kiangsi. This was said to be one of the reasons that he was left behind in Kiangsi to fight a diversionary action as the main Red forces departed. After his death during the New Fourth Army Incident, and Wang Ming's demise, the Party chose to single Hsiang out as the major culprit in the disaster in southern Anhwei. The Party's indictment was that he neglected to guard the Party's "independence" in the united front by conniving with the class enemy.[76] His stand on the military question was evidently based on his support for the Internationalists, and contemporary evidence corroborates the Party's charges against him. For instance, one finds him making very strong statements in support of mobile and positional warfare as late as January, 1939, more than one year after the Sixth Plenum.[77] Taking into account the fact that the New Fourth Army had then just crawled out of conditions of "primi-

[75] For further discussion of the military dispute, see Kataoka, "Mao and Strategic Disputes in the CCP in the War against Japan," presented to the annual meeting of the Association for Asian Studies in April, 1970.

[76] See, for instance, Teng Tzu-hui, "Hsin-ssu-chün ti fa-chan chuang-ta yü liang-t'iao lu-hsien ti tou-cheng" [Strong development of the New Fourth Army and the struggle of the two lines], Hsing-huo liao-yüan (Peking: Jen-min wen-hsüeh ch'u-pan-she, 1962), VI, 375–400. This volume was published when Mao and the "revisionists" were struggling over P'eng Te-huai's status after his dismissal. Hence, Teng's comment on Hsiang Ying has a peculiar double-edged character.

[77] Hsiang Ying chiang-chün yen-lun-chi [Collection of general Hsiang Ying's speeches and essays] (Chi-na ch'u-pan-she, 1939), p. 61.


tive men" (in the words of one of its officers),[78] one sees how subjective (i.e., political) Hsiang Ying's stance on the strategic question was.

To summarize, Mao's opponents in the army maintained: (1) The major burden of fighting rested on the Kuomintang's regular forces, and they should be supported by the Communist forces. None probably went so far as to call Mao's line treason, as Chang Kuo-t'ao did when he defected from the Party in early 1938. They maintained that the CCP's survival rested on the continued resistance by the Kuomintang. (2) The combined Chinese forces should rely mostly on mobile warfare but should not shun positional defense of some key points under favorable circumstances. By the time of the December conference of the Politburo, the assault on Nanking was in progress and a siege on Wuhan appeared a matter of time. Mao's military opponents rallied to Wang Ming's call for a decisive campaign in defense of Wuhan. (3) The Communist regular forces should fight mobile warfare behind the Japanese lines. They should do so in some flexible coordination with the "friendly forces" without abandoning the independence of tactical command. (4) Underneath the opposition of professional soldiers to Mao was a pervasive desire to advance their forces to a regular status and their dislike of return to guerrilla status.[79] Regularization in turn presupposed close cooperation with the Kuomintang government to receive military supplies.[80] Guerrilla warfare, on the other hand, meant going down among the peasants to build up popular forces through mass work. This was in turn connected with the land revolution.

Between December 13 and 15, the Japanese forces committed shocking genocide in the course of mopping up the last Chinese resistance in Nanking. On December 16, Chiang Kai-shek issued a statement expressing China's determination to fight on.[81] But the Trautmann mediation was continuing. It was not the "rape of Nanking" that ended the negotiation. Additional demands heaped upon the original terms by the Konoe cabinet following the victory in Nanking caused the Chinese government to procrastinate. Then on January 16, 1938, Konoe terminated the negotiation in spite of strong opposition from the Army General Staff. "Henceforth we will not deal with the Kuomintang regime," went the ill-considered demarche of Konoe. He

[78] Hung-ch'i p'iao-p'iao (Peking: Chungkuo ch'ing-nien ch'u-pan-she, 1958), XII, 117.

[79] See, for instance, Liu Chen, "Huai-hai-ch'ü cha-ken chi" [Memory of setting roots in the Huai-hai District], Hsing-huo liao-yüan , VI, 454–464.

[80] See below, pp. 159–160.

[81] "After the Fall of Nanking," Collected Wartime Messages , I, 49–52.


proclaimed the goal of establishing a "New Order in Asia" by cultivating a friendly government in China.[82] This left the Kuomintang government no choice but to fight on.

The Japanese forces in central China moved inland in pursuit of a decisive engagement. The Chinese forces did not offer that opportunity and retreated farther west. It was anticipated that the war would reach a turning point as the Japanese supply line stretched. Public attention and concern was focused on the fate of Wuhan in early 1938, and the tension mounted as the year wore on. It was against this background that Wang Ming gambled his career in an attempt to impose his concept of the united front both on Chiang Kai-shek and Mao Tse-tung. He unfurled the banner of "defense of Wuhan."[83] Proposing a joint, determined effort by all Chinese to defend the city, he sought to re-create the defense of Madrid. This was to be China's finest hour. If successful, his notion of the united front would have been vindicated. As the foremost Communist spokesman of Chinese nationalism, he launched the campaign in Wuhan.

The earliest of Wang Ming's essays on military questions was written in August, 1937, after the fighting had spread to Shanghai.[84] He asked, "Will China's armed struggle against Japan be victorious or not?," and answered himself affirmatively. He castigated those in China who were afflicted with the "disease of Japanese scare."[85] He granted all the points mentioned by them, which added up to Japan's superiority over China in military terms, e.g., China's lack of modern industry and armaments, its unpreparedness, etc. True, he admitted, China could not hope to win the war without modern armaments. But this was no excuse in his mind for not carrying out determined armed resistance, particularly since Japan's war aim was precisely to deprive China of what little foundation in modern industry and commerce she already possessed. Wang Ming understood the rationale for the "autonomous defense state" advanced in the Japanese military circles. Japan was trying to create satellite states in occupied areas "to provide for war by means of war." As large modern cities of China fell one by one without much resistance, the balance might be tipped so far in favor of Japan as to be irreversible.

[82] Crowley, pp. 371–374.

[83] Ch'en Shao-yü, et al., "Wo-men . . . ti i-chen," pp. 95–130.

[84] "Jih-k'ou ch'in-lüeh ti hsin-chieh-tuan yü Chungkuo jen-min tou-cheng ti hsin-shih-ch'i" [The new stage in aggression by the Japanese bandits and the new period in the struggle of the Chinese people], Wang Ming hsüan-chi , I, 151–184.

[85] Ibid. , p. 155.


Wang bemoaned the likelihood that Shanghai would be lost. He pointed out the danger this posed for China's ability to contract foreign loans in the future.[86] He was aware that Chiang Kai-shek's power rested largely on the support and the vitality of the so-called Kiangsu–Chekiang financial clique based in the lower Yangtze valley. What dire consequences were in store for the Kuomintang's continued resistance if it were to meekly abandon Shanghai, Canton, Wuhan, and the most populous part of China, and retreat into the hinterland? He seems to have doubted whether the Kuomintang, uprooted from its urban, coastal constituencies, could survive for long in the countryside. Should not the Kuomintang attempt a determined defense of one of the remaining cities, mustering all its might? Did not China's sons give a good account of themselves in Shanghai in 1932 and again in 1937? Wang Ming was thus advocating a forward strategy. According to his reckoning, the first stage of the war ended when the invasion began, and the second stage would last until the siege of Wuhan. The last stage was counter-offensive. Wang Ming was in effect advocating a two-stage theory of war: the defense of Wuhan was to be the pivot.[87] China was to turn the defense of Wuhan into a counter-offensive to drive the Japanese out.

As Nanking was lost in December, forcing the Kuomintang government to seek peace with Japan, he gained wider support in the Party. With the Comintern's authority behind him, he set to work to readjust the united front relationship. There was a reorganization of the central leadership organs in accordance with the Comintern's directives.[88] Two regional bureaus, the Yangtze Bureau and the Southeastern Bureau, were created. The former was to supervise the Party's work in the Kuomintang areas, while the latter controlled the New Fourth Army's area.[89] Intense factional struggles and maneuvers were under way, and were paralleled by doctrinal disputes. At the December conference of the Politburo, a resolution was passed calling for the Seventh Party Congress to be "convened as soon as possible."[90] Mao managed to become the chairman of the preparatory committee for the Congress.[91] Wang Ming still kept his initiative. The March conference proposed

[86] Ibid. , p. 158.

[87] See Mao Tse-tung-chi , VI, 183, for Mao's criticism of those who opposed his three-stage theory of war.

[88] "Wo ti hui-i," Ming Pao , No. 61, January, 1970, p. 93. According to Warren Kuo, citing Chen Jan, Wang Ming coveted the post of the General Secretary but the post was abolished. "The Conflict between Chen Shao-yu and Mao Tse-tung," Issues and Studies , November, 1968, p. 40.

[89] Ibid. , p. 41.

[90] Ibid. , December, 1968, p. 51.

[91] Ibid. , p. 52.


the defense of Wuhan as the urgent common objective of the CCP and the Kuomintang.[92]

On June 15, Wang Ming, Chou En-lai, and Ch'in Pang-hsien jointly published an article proposing the defense of Wuhan. "Naturally the crux of the problem no longer lies in whether we have general capability to defend Wuhan," they stated, "it lies mainly in how we proceed to implement the work . . . . "[93] China had the wherewithal, the defense was a matter of will. Everything else Wang Ming wished to accomplish hinged on the retention of Wuhan. His stated views on cooperation with the Kuomintang lost that cautious double-edged character which he had maintained when he was initially proposing the united front. In criticizing Mao's radicalism, he abandoned the previous attempts to distinguish himself from Ch'en Tu-hsiu:

The National Government is the all-China government which needs to be strengthened, not reorganized. The unified national defense government, with improvement in its top-level institutions and coordination among its lower echelons, must be based on the unity of the people. Democracy and freedom must be geared to the task of fighting Japan and not run counter to it. Improvement of the people's livelihood must be realized for the task of fighting Japan and not against it. The people's armed forces must grow in their fighting with the Japanese and must not contradict this fighting.[94]

As he was prepared to accept the Kuomintang's Program for Resistance and Reconstruction as the basis of cooperation, so was he willing to defend it as the government of all Chinese—or so he was saying.

This was made more explicit in regard to the question of military command. From March on, he began advocating "national defense divisions" (kuo-fang-shih ), an outgrowth of his former idea of "united anti-Japanese army." These divisions would be staffed by and recruited from the elite elements in all the Chinese forces including the Eighth Route Army.[95] They would be equipped with modern weapons in order to undertake mobile and positional warfare. These divisions as well as all the other Chinese forces, Wang insisted, "must use every means to tighten the unity of all forces on the front—all existing units must clearly understand that they are part of the unified National

[92] Wang Ming, "San-yüeh cheng-chih-chü ti tsung-chi" [The summing-up of the March Politburo conference], Guide , IV, 21–54. In addition to the questions of Wuhan and mobile warfare, the conference again pressed for convening of the Seventh Congress.

[93] Ch'en Shao-yü, et al., "Wo-men . . . ti i-chen," p. 98.

[94] "The Current Situation and Tasks in the War of Resistance," cited in Warren Kuo, "The Conflict between Chen Shao-yu and Mao Tse-tung," Issues and Studies , December, 1968, pp. 94–95.

[95] "Wo-men . . . ti i-chen," pp. 107–108.


Revolutionary Army, and they must completely do away with the various so-called organizational viewpoints of the past . . . . "[96]

It was quite apparent that most of Wang Ming's project depended on the consent of the Kuomintang government. He was making a risky assumption that Chiang Kai-shek would reverse his policy of strategic retreat at the doorstep of Hankow. Where was Wang Ming to acquire the influence necessary to prevail on the suspicious government? Stalin was showing active interest in China's defense. He extended new credits of US $50 million each in March and July.[97] But the Soviet Union was not in a position to influence the strategic decisions of the Chinese government.

Thus, the only leverage Wang Ming had was public opinion in the Kuomintang's own constituencies. He hoped to mobilize one million men directly for the defense of Wuhan.[98] The cause of the Chinese nation became indistinguishable from the factional interest of the Internationalists in restoring China's revolution to the cities. While criticizing the way in which Mao put "democracy" to use, Wang Ming, too, obviously needed "democracy" as an integral part of his scheme. Hsin-hua jih-pao (the New China Daily News ) began publication in Hankow in January and became an important instrument of propaganda for Wang Ming's point of view. The CCP's agitation for popular assembly resulted in the establishment of the National Political Council by the act of Kuomintang's Extraordinary National Congress. Seven CCP members were appointed as members. Wang Ming personally led the Communist members at the first session in July and succeeded in passing resolutions which were intended to commit the government to defense of Wuhan.[99]

Mao was forced to rebut his critics and defend his position. Nineteen thirty-eight was one of the most productive years in his career as a political writer and pamphleteer. In the span of six months between May and November, he wrote all of his best-known essays dealing with military problems in the anti-Japanese war. They consumed his soul.[100] "Strategic Problems in the Anti-Japanese Guerrilla War" was addressed to those who viewed guerrilla war only from a tactical point of view and, justifiably perhaps, missed its strategic significance. Mao concurred with his critics that guerrilla warfare was insignificant from

[96] Ibid. , p. 102.

[97] Young, China and the Helping Hand , p. 57. See also Stalin's letter of June 10 to Chiang Kai-shek, in Soviet Russia in China , p. 87.

[98] Joho[*] , No. 31, December 1, 1940, p. 12.

[99] Ibid. , No. 7, December 1, 1939, p. 37.

[100] Jerome Ch'en, Mao and the Chinese Revolution (London: Oxford University Press, 1965), pp. 208–209.


a strictly military point of view and in the short run: the war could not be finally settled except by a "decisive battle" in regular warfare. Throughout the essay, Mao used the term "strategic." To understand what Mao meant by the term is to understand the true import of his stand. All the varied meanings of the term were subsumed under one root meaning, which had to do with Mao's grand strategy: guerrilla warfare was strategically significant to the extent that it developed into mobile and regular warfare at the end of the war. As he put it,

The mobile warfare of the third stage will no longer be undertaken solely by the original regular forces; part, possibly quite an important part, will be undertaken by forces which were originally guerrillas but which will have progressed from guerrilla to mobile warfare. . . .[101]

That is to say, the strategic task of the CCP was to expand its forces within the three-cornered struggle between Japan, the Kuomintang, and itself into a fully regular force capable of defeating both of its foes in the end. The whole point of fighting in the "strategic interior-line" was to use the Japanese presence to segregate the Kuomintang army from the Communist forces. This purpose would be undermined if the Communist forces drew the attention of the Japanese forces by revealing their strength prematurely; it would not do to escape the pursuit of one enemy only to fall into the hands of the other. If that were to happen, the Kuomintang would certainly "stand by and watch" (Lin Piao) and not come to the aid of the Communist forces.

With respect to the Japanese forces, the choice of the "strategic interior-line" for the Communist theater of operation was based on several prior assumptions. (1) Guerrilla warfare should create a diffuse sense of insecurity for the Japanese forces over the entire occupied area rather than jolting them with sharp shocks.[102] (2) Even if the Japanese forces were alarmed by Communist expansion, their ability to suppress and uproot the Communist guerrillas and their infrastructure would be far inferior to that of the Kuomintang forces in civil war. For one thing, the force level of the Japanese army would be such as to leave many areas simply unoccupied.[103] (3) Some native forces might contribute to the "Sinification" of the war, so to speak. But Mao assured his audience that puppet forces would be wholly ineffective against the Communist partisans fighting a patriotic war.[104] (4) Both Mao and Lin

[101] Selected Works , II, 173.

[102] The diversionary effect of this diffuse sense of insecurity was the upper ceiling of the CCP's "cooperation" with the Kuomintang. This was what Mao meant by "strategic coordination," the only kind he permitted. Where he talked of tactical cooperation between regular and guerrilla forces, he clearly had in mind cooperation of Communist regulars and Communist guerrillas. See ibid ., pp. 91–92, 109–111.

[103] Ibid. , p. 99.

[104] Ibid. , p. 97.


Piao dismissed the possibility that the Japanese forces could adopt the blockhouse method (i.e., clear and hold type of mission) of the Kuomintang because of the insufficiency of troops and different military tradition.[105] (5) The significance of guerrilla warfare was not in its ability to inflict decisive damage on the enemy. That is, local and tactical inferiority of the guerrillas to the Japanese was of no account. The significance of popular war was to force the enemy to engage in an indecisive war for a very "protracted" period of time in the context of an international conflict which might expose the enemy to strategic hazard emanating from other sources. Mao seems to have placed his hope on eventual disintegration of Japan and on a third power intervention.[106]

The Kuomintang was bound to be alarmed by the prospect of continued Communist expansion. The CCP had to expand while judiciously holding the political tension with the Kuomintang just below the point where it might touch off an open civil war. It was Mao's judgment that such an expansion was possible only if it took place at the expense of the national enemy and not of the Kuomintang. I surmise that this judgment was derived from two lessons in the CCP's own experiences. One was the rather surprising persistence of Chinese guerrilla activities in Manchuria in spite of disorganized and incompetent leadership. The Nanking government refused to intervene militarily there, but on the other hand it never formally abandoned Manchuria. The parallel between this and the situation after 1937 is obvious. The other lesson, a negative one, seems to have been born of the civil war. During that time the Communist bases were always behind the Kuomintang forces as the latter faced foreign menaces on China's frontiers. During the Chinese Eastern Railway crisis of 1929, the CCP harassed the government's rear as it sought to deal with the Russian incursion into Manchuria. This provoked Ch'en Tu-hsiu's criticism of the Party. The CCP continued to exploit every Japanese menace after 1931. The Chinese government could not deal with foreign and domestic foes simultaneously. Hence, it appeased Japan. This meant that an international war, the vital precondition of a revolution, would not last very long even if it came. The war would be protracted only if the CCP took part in the resistance.

"On the Protracted War" was written for public release—much to

[105] Ibid. , p. 105. Lin Piao elaborated this point by enumerating four reasons: (1) the size of the occupied area; (2) insufficiency of Japanese troops; (3) the lack of natural material for fortification in north China, such as timber; and (4) the absence of "blockhouseism" in the Japanese military tradition, in "Lun hua-pei cheng-kui-chan . . . ," p. 71.

[106] Selected Works , II, 122–123.


the consternation of P'eng Te-huai, it was reported.[107] The essay was a masterpiece for its synthetic quality. On the one hand, it was a prognosis of how the war would be necessarily protracted. This point was made vis-à-vis the pessimists outside the Communist party. On the other hand, it was a plea for protracting the war, a point made vis-à-vis Wang Ming and his "hawkish" followers inside. But the potentially antagonistic points were sewed up into a seemingly consistent whole; the protracted war seemed at once inevitable and desirable.

Judging from Japan's over-all war-making capacity, Mao apparently perceived in May that the war was soon entering "on the new stage."[108] He divided the war into the well-known three stages and assigned specific forms of warfare to each: China's strategic retreat based on mobile warfare; strategic stalemate based on guerrilla warfare; and strategic counter-offensive by means of mobile and positional warfare.[109] Provided China survived the stage of strategic retreat, the subsequent stage of stalemate was the most important one for the revolution. The protracted nature of the whole war derived from the protracted nature of stalemate. Mao was apprehensive of the "impetuous friends" who might gamble on the destiny of the nation in a strategically decisive engagement in which victory was not certain.[110] This would be the "worst policy." Refusal to fight decisive engagements meant abandonment of territory. But, said Mao, "we must have the courage to do so . . . . "[111]

This was formally a message to the hawks in the Kuomintang who wished to defend Wuhan. But Chiang Kai-shek's agreement with Mao on this point made the advice superfluous. Mao quoted Chiang extensively in his report to the Sixth Plenum.[112] In so doing, he was in fact lecturing Wang Ming against defense of Wuhan on no less an authority than Chiang Kai-shek. Wang Ming was to Chiang and Mao at this time what Mao was to Chiang before the Lukouchiao Incident: a hawk and a source of embarrassment. Mao's three-stage theory of the war was directed in part at Wang Ming. In calling for abandonment of Wuhan during the stage of stalemate, he was trying to deprive the Internationalists of an urban base.

The pessimists outside of the CCP (the "theory of national subjugation") were the more difficult ones for Mao to rebut. He counted on

[107] P'eng said, "A book written by an individual can only be published in his own name, but not in the name of the Central Committee," The Case of Peng Teh-huai , p. 191.

[108] This was the title of his report to the Sixth Plenum, Mao Tse-tung-chi , VI, 163–240.

[109] Selected Works , II, 136–138.

[110] Ibid. , p. 114.

[111] Ibid. , p. 181.

[112] Mao Tse-tung-chi , VI, 174.


Japan's imperialistic ambition to foreclose political settlement of the war in the first stage. But as Japan exhausted its power, he expected, it would seriously seek such a solution. The second stage was most likely to give rise to "capitulationism" in China; and the longer the stalemate, the stronger it would grow, Mao admitted. This was precisely what his opponents maintained. Yet Mao could offer no plausible solution to the problem except that the CCP should operate behind the Japanese lines.

The Sixth Plenum

The Sixth Plenum met in a very long session—between September 28 and November 6 according to one source[113] —to compose the differences in the Party and to lay down coherent policies. The time was inauspicious for the Internationalists. The Japanese assault on Wuhan and Canton began in late August. The Chinese government did not wish to be forced by public opinion into a risky campaign. Least of all was it willing to dance to the tune called by the Chinese Communists and perhaps the Soviet Union. It suppressed the CCP's mass mobilization. It suspended the Hsin-hua jih-pao three times and disbanded sixteen mass organizations of more radical character in August.[114] By October 7, Chou En-lai was editorializing in the Hsin-hua jih-pao against staking everything on the defense of Wuhan. Canton and Wuhan fell on October 21 and 27 respectively while the Sixth Plenum was in session.

At the Sixth Plenum Mao's military line since the Loch'uan conference was formally accepted as the Party's line. At the juncture of the civil and international wars, he said, "our change in strategy was an extremely serious one." He went on to say, "In this special situation we had to transform the regular army of the past into a guerrilla army . . . . "[115] For the first time, Mao offered an empirical referent for his concept of guerrilla and mobile warfare and gave them substantive content. According to him, there were actually two kinds of guerrilla warfare. One was used in the early period of the civil war. The other was the guerrilla warfare conducted by the regular forces of the Eighth Route Army in the early period of the war against Japan. The latter was in fact not different from the regular warfare of the later period of the civil war. It was a regular warfare of the "Chinese type." It was "only guerrilla warfare raised to a higher

[113] Warren Kuo, "The CCP after the Government Evacuation of Wuhan," Issues and Studies , May, 1969, p. 41.

[114] Joho[*] , No. 31, December 1, 1940, p. 12.

[115] Selected Works , II, 228.


level."[116] Mao's line was clear: the regular forces of the Eighth Route Army were to fight guerrilla warfare. This was the end of the first round of the strategic dispute.

The Comintern was apparently very satisfied with the changes that took place in the CCP through the summer of 1938.[117] Mao made many verbal concessions to the Internationalists, and therewith to the Kuomintang at the Plenum. It seemed that Mao's report, On the New Stage , was jointly authored by him and Wang Ming.[118] It repeated the CCP's pledge to cooperate with the Kuomintang into the post-war years.[119] It stated that the democratic republic which the CCP was trying to establish would be "independent, free, and happy."[120] This was Wang Ming's slogan for the second united front. It was his counterpart of Sun Yat-sen's Three People's Principles, i.e., nationalism, democracy, and people's livelihood. In addition, the report stated,

The anti-Japanese national united front is based on the Kuomintang and the CCP, and of the two parties the Kuomintang is the foremost and the larger party. The commencement and the support of the war of resistance is unthinkable without the Kuomintang.[121]

But on substantive decisions passed by the Plenum, in addition to the one concerning the strategic questions, Mao had his way. The Plenum passed another resolution calling for the Seventh Congress, but Mao's report stated that "because the preparatory work is still incomplete, it is difficult to convene the Congress this year."[122] As the chairman of the preparatory committee for the Congress, he seemed to have tabled it for the time being. The Plenum passed a Fifteen Point Program, apparently a model for the administrative program of border region governments.[123] It is my inference that a tax policy and treatment of the landlord class were in this Program.

[116] Ibid. , p. 227.

[117] Mao Tse-tung, Lun hsin-chieh-tuan [On the new stage], Mao Tse-tung-chi , VI, 166.

[118] In addition to the points noted below, this report also proposed the "creation of mechanized army group," Ibid. , pp. 211–212.

[119] Ibid. , p. 223.

[120] Ibid. , p. 233.

[121] Ibid. , p. 198.

[122] Ibid. , p. 239.

[123] P'eng Chen, "Kuan-yü Chin-Ch'a-Chi pien-ch'ü mu-ch'ien ti shih-cheng kang-ling" [Concerning the current administrative program of the Chin-Ch'a Chi Border Region], Chieh-fang , No. 119, p. 22. It is possible that the first administrative program to come into existence, the Shen-Kan-Ning Border Region Administrative Program (passed in April, 1939), was based on the Fifteen-Point Program. See Shen-Kan-Ning pien-ch'ü ts'an-i-hui wen-hsien hui-chi [Collection of Shen-Kan-Ning Border Region political council's documents] (Peking: K'e-hsüeh ch'u-pan-she, 1958), pp. 39–41.


Correspondingly, a definite policy for handling of traitors was adopted, though I have no access to this document either.[124] The Plenum decided on further expansion of Communist power. The CCP was to become "an all Chinese, vast mass-character, bolshevized political party." There was also a decision on the organization of local Party hierarchy. I infer that there were corresponding decisions on the parallel hierarchies of government and military districts.[125]

The Plenum's resolution proposed an organizational form of the united front to the Kuomintang. On this issue the formal differences between Mao and Wang Ming are impossible to detect. In Wang Ming's original proposal for a "national defense government," the Kuomintang and the CCP were to maintain their distinct identity, organization, and ideology. Formally it was a coalition of two independent parties. In late 1937, Mao was vowing that the CCP would not enter the government as long as it was a "one-party dictatorship." One exception was made in a resolution apparently proposed by Mao in September 1937: the CCP was to take an active part in a local or regional united front behind the Japanese lines.[126] Upon returning to China, Wang Ming upheld Mao's stand, but he also stated that "if the Kuomintang is in need of our assistance, it may seek our participation."[127] What they meant by participation is not clear. Neither of them objected to participation in a popular assembly such as the National Political Council; hence, the reference seems to have been to participation in administrative posts. Wang Ming approved of the Kuomintang's appointment of Chou En-lai as deputy director of the political department of the National Military Commission under Ch'eng Ch'en in February, 1938.[128]

The decision of the Plenum was enigmatic. The telegraphic message to the nation pledged that the CCP would "not establish secret organization of the Communist Party within the Kuomintang and its armed forces."[129] But it proposed that the CCP members be allowed

[124] Tang ti cheng-ts'e chiang-shou t'i-kang [Manual for explaining the Party's tactics] (central Anhwei?, 1942) (BI), p. 45.

[125] See below, pp. 137–139.

[126] Selected Works , II, 73.

[127] Chugoku[*] kyosanto[*] 1937-nen shi , p. 472.

[128] Wang Ming, "San-yüeh cheng-chih-chü ti tsung-chi," 37–38. The day after Chou's appointment, Mao is reported to have reiterated his objection to Communist participation in the government. Warren Kuo, "The 6th Plenum of the CCP 6th Central Committee," Issues and Studies , March, 1969, p. 41.

[129] Selected Works , II, 439; Kung-fei huo-kuo , III, 68, 74. But by 1940 the CCP was ordering its members to infiltrate the Kuomintang and the San-Min-Chu-I Youth Corps. See Kuan-yü pao-chia-ch'ang kung-tso ti shih-chih [Directive concerning the work of pao-chia chiefs], Ibid. , p. 534.


to join the Kuomintang and the San-Min-Chu-I Youth Corps.[130] The Plenum's resolution suggested two alternative methods. One was identical with the "bloc within" tactics of the first united front: the CCP members were to join the Kuomintang individually by announcing their Communist affiliation. The resolution, however, rejected a reciprocal arrangement to let the Kuomintang members join the CCP.[131] The other method was cooperation of two distinct party organizations. The resolution stated that the first method was the "best organization form" for the united front.[132]

Judging from the subsequent action of the CCP, there were additional decisions of extreme importance, though these were not necessarily the decisions of the Plenum as such. Ho Lung and the 120th Division were ordered to move out of the Chin-Sui Border Region (actually northwestern Shansi) into central Hopei to help reorganize Lü Cheng-ts'ao's former Northeastern Army and consolidate the area as a part of the Chin-Ch'a-Chi Border Region. The 115th Division also began to move out of Shansi, across Hopei, and into Shantung in force in early 1939. It is likely that this decision, too, was made during the Plenum. The most important decision concerned the redeployment of the bulk of the New Fourth Army's units from the southern bank of the Yangtze River to northern Kiangsu across the river.[133] This was a direct application of Mao's strategic principle. The southern bank of Yangtze belonged to the Kuomintang's Third War Zone; north Kiangsu was behind the Japanese lines. Subsequent chapters will deal with the far-reaching consequences of this decision.

I have reviewed the process by which the contending factions in the CCP implemented their respective concepts of the united front. The dispute concerned the extent to which the united front with the Kuomintang could be exploited for the CCP's interest. Mao's position followed from the premise that the end of the war with Japan was the beginning of a Chinese civil war. Therefore, the Chinese Communists could not do otherwise than to capitalize on the war to strengthen themselves. For him the united front meant an absence of peace be-

[130] Chungkuo Kung-ch'an-tang k'uo-ta ti liu-chung ch'üan-hui tien-wen [Telegraphic messages of the CCP's Sixth Plenum], K'ang-chan chien-kuo shih-liao wen-hsien [Collection of historical materials concerning the resistance and reconstruction], No. 3, p. E–3.

[131] Mao Tse-tung-chi , VI, 228.

[132] Ibid.

[133] Liu Shao-ch'i states that the Sixth Plenum decided to establish the Central Plains Bureau, in Chugoku[*] kyosanto[*] kachu-kyoku[*] dai-ichi-ji kakudai kaigi ketsugi [The resolution of the first plenary meeting of the Central China Bureau of the CCP] (hereinafter cited as Central China Bureau First Plenum ) (Shanghai: Embassy of Japan, 1942), p. 1. The Central Plains Bureau was renamed the Central China Bureau in the winter of 1940, ibid. It was located in north Kiangsu.


tween China and Japan. He was beginning to revert to the stand he took at Wayaopao, but total dependence of the war on the Kuomintang's efforts at this stage weakened his position. Wang Ming's position was not an enviable one either. He would gain an upper hand internally only when the Kuomintang appeared to be on the verge of collapse. This was because, unlike Mao and Chiang Kai-shek, he did not have his own army, a prerequisite for political power in China. But his setback at the Sixth Plenum was only a temporary one. The compatibility of the united front with the revolution was yet to be fully tested.


III— From the Lukouchiao Incident to the Sixth Plenum

Preferred Citation: Kataoka, Tetsuya. Resistance and Revolution in China: The Communists and the Second United Front. Berkeley:  University of California Press,  [1974] 1974.